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Do you just want to soak up the sun on your next trip to Southern California? Well you’ll need some space to call your own so big sandy beaches are probably the best. It’s a bonus to have restaurants and other services nearby for taking a break from sunbathing. Finding the right beach is key to relaxing on vacation.

The beaches of Malibu are some of the best for sun as most face south to maximize exposure, but many beaches on the Malibu shore are narrow or all wet at high tide. Check California tide charts before heading to the beach there.

Venice Beach has space for many beach towels and umbrellas

Other beaches like those on Santa Monica Bay and in Orange County have a southwestern exposure for excellent afternoon sunning. Coronado Beach near San Diego is one of the best in SoCal with lots of space, a southern exposure, and calm cool waters for wading on long beach walks. Many other beaches near Los Angeles and San Diego, and in Orange County are tops for sun worshipers. Here are the best sunbathing beaches in Southern California!

Beaches on this map

  • Imperial Beach City Beach

    Imperial Beach, California has an impressive beach running the length of its waterfront called Imperial Beach City Beach. This beach is generally located between Palm Avenue and Imperial Beach Boulevard […]

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  • Coronado Beach

    Coronado Beach, aka Central Beach, starts at the famous Hotel del Coronado and continues north to Sunset Park. At the north end of the beach in front of Sunset Park […]

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  • Silver Strand State Beach

    Silver Strand State Beach gives day-use visitors and campers access to great beaches on both sides of the Coronado Island Peninsula. The ocean beach at Silver Strand State Beach offers […]

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  • Ocean Beach City Beach

    Ocean Beach City Beach is the main beach in the San Diego neighborhood of Ocean Beach. This is a wide sandy beach that has formed at the south side of […]

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  • Mission Beach

    Mission Beach (the beach) is a long wide sandy beach in the Mission Beach area of San Diego. The beaches here are continuous, but Mission Beach is typically considered the […]

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  • Pacific Beach

    Pacific Beach (the beach) is located between Pacific Beach Drive and the Crystal Pier in the Pacific Beach District of San Diego, CA. North of the pier is North Pacific […]

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  • La Jolla Shores Beach

    La Jolla Shores Beach is a long, wide, and very popular beach in northern La Jolla. Compared to most of the La Jolla beaches which are tucked into gaps between […]

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  • Del Mar City Beach

    The Main Beach of Del Mar City Beach starts at Powerhouse Park and goes north all the way to the lagoon entrance at the San Dieguito River. On the other […]

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  • Tamarack State Beach

    Tamarack Surf Beach, as this part of Carlsbad State Beach is known, is located where Tamarack Avenue crosses Carlsbad Boulevard. At this intersection is the entrance to a large parking […]

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  • Robert Frazee State Beach

    Robert C. Frazee State Beach is one of several great beaches within Carlsbad State Beach. There is ramp access to Frazee Beach from the intersection of Pine Avenue and Carlsbad […]

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  • Oceanside Pier View South Beach

    Pier View South Beach is the most popular beach in Oceanside, CA. Like the name suggests, it’s the beach just south of Oceanside Pier, and yes the beach on the […]

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  • Oceanside Pier View North Beach

    Pier View North Beach in Oceanside is a popular sand beach just north of the Oceanside Municipal Fishing Pier. The beach on this side of the pier is a little […]

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  • San Clemente Pier City Beach

    San Clemente Pier Beach is the main city beach of San Clemente, California. The beach is a wide sandy spot on both sides of the pier between T-Street Beach and […]

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  • Doheny State Beach – North Beach

    Doheny State Beach has two separate beaches and day-use areas – north and south. This North Beach is located north of the San Juan Creek mouth and has a large […]

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  • Salt Creek Beach

    Salt Creek Beach Park is a popular Orange County park located in Dana Point, CA. This wide sandy beach is directly below the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel beach resort, the Ritz […]

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  • Main Beach in Laguna Beach

    Main Beach is the simple name given to the main centrally-located city beach in Laguna Beach, California. Main Beach is a nice sandy beach in a broad cove that faces […]

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  • Corona Del Mar State Beach

    Corona Del Mar State Beach is on the east side of the Newport Harbor channel entrance in the Corona Del Mar neighborhood in Newport Beach. This is a state-owned beach […]

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  • Balboa Pier Beach

    The beach at Newport Beach’s Balboa Pier is a popular place with many nice amenities nearby. The pier is open to fishing, however most visitors will just want to walk […]

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  • Newport Municipal Beach

    Newport Municipal Beach is located on both sides of the Newport Beach Pier. The beaches are continuous here and the city beach stretches from Balboa Pier Beach to the south […]

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  • Huntington State Beach

    Huntington State Beach is a two mile long wide sandy beach that starts at Beach Boulevard and runs south to the Santa Ana River Channel. This state beach has volleyball […]

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  • Huntington City Beach

    Huntington City Beach is the center of a long stretch of sandy waterfront for the city of Huntington Beach, CA. This huge asset and the fact that surf’s up regularly […]

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  • Bolsa Chica State Beach

    Bolsa Chica State Beach is a three mile long wide sandy beach in Huntington Beach, CA. Due to its location and size this is a popular beach for sunbathing. With […]

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  • Sunset Beach

    Sunset Beach (the beach) is a wide sandy public beach in the Huntington Beach community of Sunset Beach. Sunset County Beach, as it is often called, is located about two […]

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  • Seal Beach

    Seal Beach (the beach) is located in the city of Seal Beach, a small beachside community wedged between Long Beach and Huntington Beach. It is the northernmost beach town and […]

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  • Belmont Shore Beach

    Belmont Shore Beach spans the waterfront of the Belmont Shore neighborhood in Long Beach, CA. Generally this beach is between the Belmont Pier area and 55th Place. South of 55th […]

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  • Long Beach City Beach

    Long Beach City Beach is the main beach of Long Beach, CA. This long south-facing beach is located along Ocean Boulevard from the Belmont Pier all the way to Alamitos […]

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  • Alamitos Beach

    Alamitos Beach is the western end of Long Beach City Beach near the intersection of Ocean Boulevard and Alamitos Avenue, hence the beach name. Despite the name this beach is […]

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  • Hermosa City Beach

    Hermosa City Beach occupies the entire waterfront in the city of Hermosa Beach in LA County. It starts at King Harbor Marina in Redondo Beach and continues north for nearly […]

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  • Manhattan County Beach

    Manhattan Beach (the beach) is the main beach of the city of Manhattan Beach in Los Angeles County. It’s a popular beach that becomes a madhouse on weekends especially near […]

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  • Playa Del Rey Beach

    Playa Del Rey Beach is the wide sandy beach in front of the Playa Del Rey neighborhood of Los Angeles. The beach is northwest of LAX Airport on state land […]

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  • Venice Pier Beach

    The Venice Pier Beach is at the long fishing pier jutting out into the Pacific Ocean from the Venice District of Los Angeles. This area of LA has a reputation […]

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  • Venice City Beach

    Venice City Beach is the main beach in the Venice District of Los Angeles. It stretches from the Venice Pier up to the north end of the Venice District at […]

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  • Santa Monica State Beach – South Beach

    The south part of Santa Monica State Beach is located south of the Santa Monica Pier and north of Venice Beach. On the other side of the pier you’ll find […]

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  • Santa Monica State Beach – North Beach

    The north part of Santa Monica State Beach is a wide sandy beach that runs north from the Santa Monica Pier to the city border where Will Rogers State Beach […]

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  • Will Rogers State Beach

    Will Rogers State Beach is a state park operated by Los Angeles County that occupies the entire waterfront of the Pacific Palisades District of Los Angeles. The southern section of […]

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  • Westward Beach

    Westward Beach is a long and wide beach on the western side of Point Dume in Malibu, California. Westward Beach is the southern half of Zuma County Beach, a three-mile […]

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  • Zuma Beach

    Zuma Beach is a Los Angeles county park facility in Malibu. It’s a long wide beach with enough parking spaces for the Superbowl. The main beach at Zuma is about […]

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